Although it seems hard to imagine a world without Apples ubiquitous and game-changing iPhone smartphone, Apples senior vice president of industrial design Jonathan Ive revealed the project was almost canned due to the numerous challenges they faced trying to perfect the device. Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO, was so focused on making a truly great product that he and Ive were willing to dustbin less-than-worthy concepts.
“There were multiple times where we nearly shelved the phone because we thought there were fundamental problems that we can’t solve,” the U.K. newspaper The Independent reported Ive saying at a British Business Embassy event. Ive, who has helped design the MacBook Pro, iMac, MacBook Air, iPod, iPod Touch and iPad, said the company makes so few products because it gives the company time to put an extraordinary amount of care in designing each product.
“We have been, on a number of occasions, preparing for mass production and in a room and realized we are talking a little too loud about the virtues of something. That to me is always the danger, if I’m trying to talk a little too loud about something and realizing I’m trying to convince myself that something’s good, Ive continued in the papers report. “You have that horrible, horrible feeling deep down in your tummy and you know that it’s OK, but it’s not great. And I think some of the bravest things we’ve ever done are really at that point when you say, ‘that’s good and it’s competent, but it not’s great.'”
Although seemingly unrelated, the comments come soon after early prototypes of the iPhone were unveiled, thanks to an impending patent lawsuit between Apple and Samsung. In Samsungs filing attachments were photos of iPhones and iPads in early design stages, some looking very similar to the first generation iPhone that eventually debuted in 2007, but a few that suggested a boxier design or different color schemes. Since its debut, Apple has sold around 250 million iPhones worldwide, with anticipation reaching fever pitch as the company plans for the release of the newest version of the handset, commonly referred to as the iPhone 5, sometime this fall.
Ive, who was born in England, was honored this year by Queen Elizabeth II as a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE) for services to design and enterprise. Ive, the winner of numerous awards including Worlds Smartest Designer by Forbes magazine and the National Design award, holds about 400 design patents. The KBE marks the second time Ive has been honored by the British, following his recognition as a Commander of the British Empire in 2005.